Oh hey, the server’s back up for the blog! Yay! Hello out there in readership land!

My coupe is being turned over to Mr. W today. I’m a little sad. That car’s been with me for 8 years of loyal service. It was the first car I’d purchased. I’d driven other cars before, but this is the one that was really the product of my hard-earned sweat and tears.

When I was 16, my parents were glad to hand over their 8 year old gray Ford LTD so that they didn’t have to shuttle me around to all my club, extracurricular and social activities. My friends and I called that car The Tank. It was a nice comfortable ride with plush velvet-like miniature checkered seats. My friends (i.e., Vicky) joked that it was a “luxury sedan,” since it was big and roomy and yes, the seats were really comfortable. You didn’t get those jolts and squeaks you get riding in the “cooler” cars, which back in the early 90s were the fixed-up Honda Civics, Acura Integras, Mitsubishi Eclipses. For whatever generous or perhaps guilt-induced reason, my parents “fixed up” my LTD with a pull-out radio. I’d turn the treble down and the bass up, and my car with all its hyper boppy passengers would vibrate to the bass line of Sir Mixalot’s Baby Got Back and Paperboy’s The Ditty. Is it any wonder that when the now old-school hip hop of the early to mid 90s come on the radio, I’m taken back to those happy days parking on the street in front of the high school (since the only parking lot for students were assigned senior parking which you had to get up at the buttcrack of dawn and get to school 2 hours before class started in order to snatch one of the precious spaces), when I’d be there so early I’d simply do my Calculus homework due 1st period right there on the steering wheel. By the end of my senior year, that car had decidely had it. The thermostat stuck and caused the car to overheat a few times, one of which was during my return from a Senior Breakfast event in Pomona; the rubber hoses had hardened and cracked, one at a time, such that one time coasting down a hill toward my house I had a green coolant water fountain squirting out the left side of my hood. That car became too much of an expense to repair, so my parents got rid of it (and I was sad then, too) and I went without a car to college. It was too inconvenient (and expensive!) to drive in Westwood, anyway. On weekends home I simply borrowed one of my parents’ Volvos.

A couple of months before I graduated college, my parents mentioned something about my buying a car. “Why would I buy a car?” I wondered. “You don’t expect to borrow one of our cars forever when you graduate, do you? How are WE supposed to get to work then?” my mom said. Oh, I hadn’t thought of that. I started looking and doing research. That was 1998, and the Accord had just newly redesigned a coupe. It was hot hot hot on the market, because for the first time, the Accord coupe didn’t look simply like a 2-door version of the Accord sedan. The tail lights formed isoceles triangles and were reminiscent of the NSX rears. The body shape had an aggressive sporty stance. It came with a VTec engine. People were on waiting lists with the dealerships paying above window sticker price. Through connections with the ex (the same one who hooked me up again), I paid $21K out the door for the upgraded EX trim, thousands below sticker price, on Mother’s Day, 1998. With the windows tinted and leather seats, that car was the envy of everyone. My cousin (mechanic specializing in Hondas) serviced that car faithfully for the 8 years I owned it. That car, at 8 years old now, is nothing like the Ford LTD in its 8th year. There really is something to be said for Hondas in lasting power.

In my garage last night, I had the two cars side by side and transferred some things from the Accord to the Lexus. There were other things I threw away — movie ticket stubs dating back to 1998; hand-drawn maps to ex-boyfriends’ houses, offices, events; printed mapquested directions to spas, friends’ houses, other courthouses, restaurants. I don’t need those anymore with the new navigation system. I found an email string I’d printed out and kept in the car back when my friend Lily counseled me through an emotional melt-down, which trauma I’m sure is poured into those pages, but it was too painful for me to even attempt to reread. I also found another sliver of paper, a vignette of an email from my cousin Mark written to me around the same time, with some words of encouragement telling me that I shall be victor because “nothing less is expected or possible.” Early business cards of friends from when we stepped from the golden hazy schoolkid days into the bleached harsh gray of the real world. For a packrat sentimentalist, I had some minor symbolic victories in the act of throwing away the first poem typed to me from the Cheating Ex (which I’d printed out and kept in the car to, in a sense, be near him), and throwing away a stack of business cards for another ex’s store. It’s amazing what you uncover in what is arguably a time capsule that took you from your early 20s of adulthood (age 21) to age 30.

Even though my Accord doesn’t respond to my voice the way the Lexus does (when I push the voice command button), I’d like to think that it had bonded with me and my heart like a living entity that had carried me through laughter and suicidal pain, triumphant successes and a few failures, old familiar routes and unexplored roads.